When I first did research before buying an iguana I was told that the greens should be cut to about the size of an iguanas head. However, I have seen Orko eat half of a large 12in+ collard green in one continuous bite fest. If he can eat that much without choking, I'm not sure they can. Add into that that in the wild iguanas are forced to eat whole leaves at a time.
Does anyone know of an iguana that has died from choking on greens?
Post by prism_wolf on Sept 26, 2004 9:36:22 GMT -8
There are a couple of reasons to cut the greens small. I'll get to them in a round about way.
As you know...in the wild they do not have the luxury of having their food cut up for them. They get to eat it the way it comes to them. This is fine for wild igs. In their natural habitat they have THE PERFECT care requirements. The food they process is the exact foods they require under the right amount of UVB and the correct temperatures year round.
We can only offer a mediocore attempt at the ideal conditions at best, so we have to make certain accomodations. For instance...making the leaves as small as we can helps in the digestion process. The less of the leaf that is kept in tact, the less their body has to break it down for digestion. Their bodies can concentrate more on dispersing/absorbing the nutrients that come from the chopped foods.
Also, the leaves they eat are often still attached to the branches the igs eat from and have that resistance to keep the whole leaf from going into the mouth at once...allowing the igs to get just one bite at a time. Loose leaf greens left whole are much more difficult to just tear off the bite-sized pieces.
As for igs choking on leaves...no...not the leaves themselves, but they can get the stems caught in the roofs of their mouths causing many owners vet costs and grief trying to figure out why all of a sudden, their ig is digging at their mouths, stops eating and a change in behavior.
The stems are also very hard to digest...especially collard green stems. These often come out only partially digested and takes up room in the igs belly for more appropriate food as well as using the energy trying to break it down instead of being able to concentrate on the nutrient absorption end of it.
It is perfectly fine to have a full leave hanging in their habitat...every day even just for the benefit of the ig getting to use some of the wild they still possess, a bit of exsercise and something fun for them to do.
I agree with Prism Wolfs assesment with one addition. If the leaves are swallowed in wads as opposed to being chopped up they can't get as much in their stomache. Picture wadding up a peice of newspaper and pushing it into a glass as opposed to taking that same paper in the form of confetti and see how much less room it occupies. The wadded up leaves occupies a great deal of space due to the air trapped in the folds. With cut up foods they are able to process much more food and that equals more nutrients and fluids.